Shorts and Bits from the FlyLady Project

Hotspots, per FlyLady, are areas of clutter that eventually take over a room. Every room in my house has at least one, and I need to spend more than 2 minutes per day (Her limit) on one spot if I’m going to see the kind of progress I want. I can see how this short amount of time might be enough for maintenance, but not for [mumblety-]years worth of neglect.
[picture forthcoming as soon as my learning curve allows it] So, this is our coffee table. The husband’s, actually. It is currently my workspace because the other 2 spots that would make more sense were covered or blocked long ago. It has everything from laundry to medicine to books, etc. I think it should take me only 20 minutes to get all the unessentials put away. The tough part is keeping it clean while I tackle the other spots.
Here is our kitchen bar [pic] This is probably at least a 2-hour job, if I do it right. When this is clear, I can move off the couch, and the coffee table won’t pile up (if it does, I won’t be the culprit).
Dining room table. [pic] I used to fold the laundry here. Perfect height, and plenty of space for organizing. This is a smallish hotspot, maybe about 30 minutes effort, including a scrubdown of the surface. At one point, we noticed fruit flies in the house; they were feeding on DH’s abandoned oranges that were in the middle of this mound.
In the utility room are my official desk [pic], the top of the dryer [pic], and the built-in desk [pic] that I had cleared a few years ago for the purpose of starting some seeds indoors. Less than 24 hours later, DH had taken over the space with his computerish equipment. We didn’t have a garden that year, and I have not made an effort towards one since. Yes, there’s a pattern here! This room will probably be an all-day project, since there’s no way I can “only” declutter the space to make it useable.
There are more spots to be tackled, but these are the public areas (I’m not including bookshelves, or the kids’ area), and therefore, the first priority.

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Revisiting FlyLady

So, FlyLady. She’s pretty well-known around the net. Several of my mommy-friends swear by her program, when they can find the time to see it through. I just dug out my old schedule pages, on which I’d booked nearly every minute of every day from 7 AM to 12:30 AM. In addition to the decluttering and maintenance of the house, it included slots for exercise, reading and writing, and caring for all the animals (chickens, sheep, donkeys, dogs and cats). This plan was supposed to help me clear out the least-useful things and help me get the house fit for company. I was incredibly excited about it–finally, a model I could follow, learn from, and habituate. So, what did I do as soon as I’d assembled my binder? I showed it to my husband, who is the King of BuzzKill. He gave it a look that closely resembled a sneer and said something to the effect of “well, looks great for someone who is OCD.”

This was back in the day when I was far too concerned with what he thought of me, and I attached way to much importance to my need for respect from him. His negative judgement on the state of my mental health (which does not include OCD, just for the record) effectively killed any desire to use my newfound knowledge to help or please him. This isn’t the only area where his attitude has bitten him in the ass, but that is another story, based in TMI-land, and best told over a glass or three of something. Anyway, I realize now that I should have gone ahead and just done my job my way without consulting the husband. Perhaps I’d had a fleeting delusion that he would step up and participate.

Now we are here, 6 years later. Finding the old schedule pages was a complete fluke. I have no idea where that binder went, but I do know that I don’t want to recreate the whole thing. I’m sure it will appear as the clutter moves out. In looking over the website, some things have been added, so I’ll have to see if they are actually helpful. Will I follow the program to the letter? We’ll see. OCD or not, it might be what it takes to get out from under this burden. I have many more responsibilities (mostly kid-related) now, and, for the sake of my mental well-being, I’m getting out with adults more often. So, I really have to make good use of my time and get rid of all the time-wasters I’ve acquired over the last few years. But that is a whole other topic, for another day.

Is it a do-over if we’re still here?

Browncoat Acres once looked like a real farm, with animals and space to grow food, but a monster named Autism Spectrum Disorder left our family unable to concentrate mentally, physically, or financially on anything but the aftereffects of the attack on our son. Our present situation is but one instance when I’ve had to “make do, or do without,” but honestly, I was hoping that at this point in my life I’d be through with the need to extend the usefulness of things commonly considered disposable. Then, of course, my Inner Environmentalist butts in and reminds me: make do with the resources at hand, create opportunities for old objects to realize new potentials, and share their stories. It’s all about adaptation, evolution, and honoring the contributions of what (and who) comes into our lives. Sometimes I’d prefer to tell I.E. to go play in traffic, but a) we don’t get much of that out here and b) deep down, I know she’s right.

So, 8 years ago, this former teacher and wanna-be librarian followed her mate into the (comparative) wilderness of 11 1/2 cedar-covered acres. This was my first stint of living in the country; husband had grown up doing (and hating) farm chores. It’s still a homestead of sorts, but the needs of our family are much different now; not only are we barely able to make improvements on the place for our enjoyment and comfort, but it’s a huge challenge to patch what is (inevitably) falling apart after 30 years. In a sense, this part of my story is one of a failed venture, but it’s also one of survival. It is mind-boggling to me how we have outgrown our house and what obstacles we will have to overcome in order to either build a compound to make it all work or leave it behind and kill my husband’s dream of having his own sanctuary.